Calling all chefs

Calling all chefs

Last year, the inaugural Luminato festival of “arts and creativity” was a tremendous success. In a few short weeks, the festival will again kindle the beacon of culture in Toronto, but with one major difference. This time, the art of gastronomy will be included. The event will be called One City, One Table. It takes place on Saturday, June 14, from noon to 9 p.m. in the Distillery District.

The idea is to celebrate Toronto’s cuisine by building a massive table—650 feet long—that will stretch down the District’s Mill Street . Every few yards beside this board, a chef will have set up a cooking station where he or she will prepare a single, simple, delicious item of street food to sell to the public for $5. Some of these chefs are leaders in our industry; others are unsung heroes. Part of the point of the exercise is to bring together everyone who makes up Toronto’s foodscape—restaurants, hotel dining rooms, caterers, cooking schools, cafés, bistros, diners, tea rooms, pizza parlours, fish ’n’ chip shops, hot dog stands. Everyone. Some potent names have already volunteered: Mark McEwan of North 44°, One and Bymark; Chris McDonald and Doug Penfold of Cava and Xoco Cava; Lino Collevecchio of Via Allegro; Anne Yarymowich of the Art Gallery of Ontario; Patrick McMurray of Starfish; Ted Corrado of C5; Lucia Ruggiero-Martella of Grano; Ryo Ozawa of EDO; and Viji Ponniah of Allen’s.

Why street food? Because we all know Toronto has a challenge to meet in creating an identity for itself where street food is concerned. And because this party is being held out on the street, it’s open to the entire city. Members of the public can buy whatever they wish from however many stations they like, take the food to the table and eat it. The tone of the whole event is one of celebration—celebrating the city, our diversity, our neighbourliness. And there will be street entertainment to further enhance the occasion. Quartetto Gelato will play as dusk falls, and Soulpepper will organize an extraordinary street theatre event; I hope clowns and buskers will be there to delight (or terrify) the crowds.

Any chef or cook or restaurateur or caterer who wishes to take part should contact Nicole Sweeney at [email protected] or 416-364-1177, ext. 252. She will tell you exactly what you need to do and what you can expect to find.